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5 Best Coding Programs for Aspiring Programmers

5 Best Coding Programs for Aspiring Programmers

Dwight Pavlovic
The demand for coding experience makes it an increasingly desirable skill for students and job seekers. It’s also an accessible one, with many professionals starting with hobbies or side projects. But even if you don’t have a head start, there are tons of coding programs with flexible online courses and even boot camps to build skills fast.
You may have heard of popular programs like App Academy and General Assembly. Both can help you find a career path and connect with potential employers – without much or any upfront cost. They can also bypass the need for traditional degrees in computer science, data science, or web design.
But they may not be the best coding programs for beginners or ongoing education and skills training. In-person classes may also not be ideal for a number of personal reasons, like scheduling, employment, and health. In those situations, students still have a slew of code schools online to consider - each with its own unique curriculum and strengths.
Most of the organizations in our article exist entirely online, but some offer pop-up events to help young coders deepen their problem-solving skills. While other coding classes for adults emphasize daily work and study outside of your concentration, you can proceed at your own pace with online courses.

1. Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp (also known as freeCodeCamp) offers a dozen different formal computer coding programs. Each certification has its own focus and associated projects and tests. Free Code Camp also hosts a friendly community forum and coding radio to listen to while working.
  • Responsive Web Design - Learn more about building a well-structured and responsive website with HTML and CSS.
  • JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures - Master the JavaScript programming language to make more interactive websites.
  • Front End Development Libraries - Build your repertoire by using front end development libraries to help structure your projects with pre-built templates and styles.
  • Data Visualization - Lessons on data handling and visualization, in particular JSON and API.
  • Back End Development and APIs - Teaches you how to work with Node.js to create back end apps.
  • Quality Assurance - Explains how to test your code using Chai.
  • Scientific Computing with Python - Learn how to work with Python.
  • Data Analysis with Python - Learn how to read complex data from a variety of sources.
  • Information Security - Explains how to build a secure website with HelmetJS and Python.
  • Machine Learning with Python - Learn about neural networks and the TensorFlow framework.
The lessons at Free Code Camp are widely applicable, but the curriculum is mostly for aspiring web developers. Even if that’s not your career goal, you can still learn new skills and maybe take on some side projects after the course.

2. Code Avengers

Code Avengers is organized into a handful of different curricula and offers coding programs online for younger students and aspiring professionals. Like Free Code Camp, Code Avengers is designed to help you learn to code with step-by-step guidance. It also tailors its classes to your existing experience or goals.
  • Junior - Designed for ages 5 through 16, introductory classes are broken into three age and project groups.
- Foundational (5 - 11): Learn the basics of data representation, simplified programming concepts, and logical thinking.
- Intermediate (10 - 15): Rounds out intro lessons with modules on binary and hexadecimal numbers, data and decision-making, and programming.
- Advanced (13 - 16): A deeper set of programming exercises and information modules.
  • Pro - Designed for new and aspiring professionals, the Pro curricula revolves around specific program-building exercises.
- I’m not sure: Start learning more about HTML, CSS 1, and JavaScript 1.
- Learn a language: Learn more about CSS, Python, and JavaScript.
- Build a career: Master the rest of the skills necessary for a web developer, software engineer, or web designer.
  • Educators - For teachers with multiple students on Junior or Pro accounts.
  • Code Camp - 1- to 3-day events organized to provide practical experience for students.
Overall, Code Avengers provides a balanced introduction to computer science. It requires a subscription, but there are courses available to use per month when you pay annually.

3. Pluralsight

Pluralsight is another coding training program that uses the subscription model. It’s priced higher than Code Avengers, but you receive a hands-on education with skill assessments for beginners and certification prep for more advanced students.
Pluralsight’s courses are broken into 2 subscription bundles.
  • Standard - According to the Pluralsight Pricing Guide, their Standard subscription provides access to their “most popular core course library” of more than 2,000 courses. You can also take advantage of skill assessments and guidance on your progress.
  • Premium - With a Premium subscription, you can access their full library of more than 7,000 courses, tutorials, and conference videos. You can also test your skills with interactive content and projects, and dedicated exam prep before starting various skill certifications.
Pluralsight groups skills into 6 main categories: software development, IT ops, info and cyber security, cloud computing, machine learning (AI), and data professional. And if you don’t want to pay for a subscription, you can access tons of useful webinars, in-person events, and a podcast.
Check out the Pricing Guide for more information on costs and team pricing options.

4. Codecademy

Codecademy operates a little differently by offering a substantial free computer programming curriculum as well as a paid Pro option. Free users can access most of the same education material and content as paid users, but subscribers benefit from extra resources and guidance.
Broadly, Pro users have more practical and career support. As a Pro user, you can work toward career certifications and complete relevant projects for your career goals. It also features a wider variety of tests and tips to test your skills and prepare for your next big job interview.
Like other coding and learning programs, Codecademy organizes its Pro content into several career and skill paths. Your choice determines your coursework. Your options will vary, but Codecademy’s newest batch includes the following, as of this publication:
  • Data Scientist - Courses emphasize working with SQL and Python.
  • Front-End Engineer - Focused on interactive and visitor-facing aspects of web design.
  • Back-End Engineer - Learn more about what keeps a complex web project running.
  • Full-Stack Engineer - Balanced coursework that combines aspects of front-end and back-end engineering programs.
Codecademy is one of the most affordable subscription options on our list. You can even save a bit extra with student pricing.

5. Khan Academy

It’s not specifically dedicated to coding, but Khan Academy offers an extensive free curriculum on computer programming. You can access these courses at any time, and you don’t even need to register for an account.
Khan Academy organizes courses into 7 different headings:
  • Intro to JS: Drawing & Animation - Teaches the basics of working with JavaScript and getting started as a programmer.
  • Intro to HTML/CSS: Making webpages - Explains how to start building websites using the HTML and CSS programming languages.
  • Intro to SQL: Querying and managing data - Learn how to manage data using SQL, short for Structured Query Language.
  • Advanced JS: Games & Visualizations - Courses on game development and graphics.
  • Advanced JS: Natural Simulations - Teaches you how to recreate and tweak real-world physics with code.
  • HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive - Techniques for making your website more engaging to visitors.
  • HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive with jQuery - Familiarizes coders with the jQuery JavaScript library.
You can cover a lot of topics with Khan Academy. You may learn about syntax highlighting in text editors or how to edit a website using software like Visual Studio Code or Sublime Text. Or, you can focus on the game development classes in the Advanced JS: Games & Visualizations tab.

Summary: best online coding courses

While it’s important to look for the best coding courses or the most prestigious coding programs you can find, getting started is paramount.
Free Code Camp has a straightforward structure with clear subject areas and certifications to pursue. It’s organized as a non-profit, so you don’t have to pay a dime. A service like Code Avengers, on the other hand, is better for younger programmers and educators.
Pluralsight and Codecademy are great options if you have a small monthly or yearly budget for education resources. But if you don’t, Khan Academy’s computer programming courses are a solid resource with step-by-step guidance and well-organized coursework.
Many coding programs may overlap one another in terms of subject matter, but presentation and style are important, too. One curriculum may feel slow compared to another, so make sure you understand lesson presentation – text, video, or through hands-on projects – before you commit.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.

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